This is the first in a series of looks at perspective players that the Seahawks may be interested in as we get ready for the NFL scouting combine, which starts on Thursday.
I’ll be attending the event again this year, flying out on Wednesday to Indianapolis and covering the event from Thursday through Sunday evening.
I’ve called on Rob Rang, senior draft analyst with NFLDraftScout.com, to help provide some analysis on some of the players the Seahawks may have their eye on this week.
And with Pete Carroll recently joining the team from USC, it made sense to start with some of his former players who will be in the draft this year.
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USC will have 11 players at the combine this week. They include safety Taylor Mays, CB Josh Pinkard, CB Kevin Thomas, DE Everson Griffen, OT Charles Brown, C Jeff Byers, G Alex Parson, RB Stafon Johnson, RB Joe McKnight, TE Robert McCoy and WR Damian Williams.
With his experience of working with these kids on a daily basis, and also the recruiting of other highly talented athletes who didn’t go to USC like Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen and Clemson’s C.J. Spiller, Carroll should have a distinct advantage in evaluating these players, which will help him in setting up a draft board for Seattle.
“He knows how the former USC players fit his scheme,” Rang said, when asked about how Carroll’s college experience will help him in evaluating talent for the draft. “He knows how other players he competed against , how they match up against his scheme. I think that any time you have a college coach making the jump to the NFL there are lots of things to be concerned about, but this is one of the big advantages that those coaches have.”
Williams is a good route runner and at 6-1, 195 pounds, he still has the suddenness to make people miss and the explosive ability to run through or past defenders. He would add some playmaking ability at the receiver position for Seattle and also has the ability to return punts and kicks.
Brown, a former tight end, is athletic enough to be effective in the zone blocking scheme, and likely could be had with Seattle’s 40th pick overall in the second round, so Seattle would not have to grab an offensive tackle with one of its two, first-round picks.
“The idea that Seattle needs a safety makes Taylor Mays a possibility,” Rang said. “But the way that I think Seattle is going to try and rebuild this team, I think the two more likely players for Seattle is the offensive tackle Charles Brown, and the wide receiver Damian Williams.
“Williams because I do think he has the straight line speed, the quickness and the hands as well as the route running, that’s his greatest area of strength to make an immediate transition to the NFL. He is one of the few rookie receivers that has the skill set to make an immediate transition, that’s why I think he would be a very good fit immediately for Seattle.
“And with Charles Brown, a former tight end, he has the athletic ability to fit in very nicely with Alex Gibbs’ scheme, as well as the fact with Charles Brown you don’t necessarily have to use that very high selection. He’s more of that 40th pick overall in the second round, rather than using one of those top two picks in the firs round. I think that combination of factors – he can fit in well with the scheme and be taken at a better position of value – I think both of those factors make him one of the more ideal candidates for Seattle from the USC class as well.”